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Thursday, November 18, 2004

Is it just me or does Bush look like a cowboy? is his hand making sure its close to the holster?

Belated congratulations to DC's one true champion..

DC United has won its fourth MLS Cup!! Pretty impressive considering there have been less than 10 played...even more impressive is the fact that the team, during the regular season, was pretty mediocre.. I saw them play one game this season (New England) and came away with the impression that the MLS level of play had weakened since its inception.... Back in the first couple of years DC United counted with John Harkes and Etcheverry as playmakers and Arce as its principal weapon.. they had Pope and Sanneh on defense.. (if i remember correctly they all played at the same time give or take)...They were no Manchester United but they could play and it made sense that, even with some changes in personnel, they won the MLS Cup 3 of the first 4 years...The new team reminds me of my favorite club side Boca Juniors (of Argentina) whose main attribute is the will to win no matter how ugly.... Anyways, at the DC United game earlier this year I was favorably impressed by Kovalenko, Cristian Gomez (from Argentina of course who scored the loan goal), Moreno and the goalie...One of the problems with the MLS is that the championship is decided in the American TV friendly style of the playoffs... in the entire rest of the world WITHOUT EXCEPTION 40 games (Argentina has two half-seasons of 20 games) or more are played and whoever comes out with the most points win (then many countries feature a playoff style Cup played at the same time)... which I think is the way it should be..but here in the US the marketing "gurus" of the MLS wanted to come up with something like the Super Bowl or baseball playoffs so a team like DC United which finished the season with 11 wins and 10 losses thanks to finding its form during the playoffs is now champion (the MLS system is a combination of the european league and cup competitions!).. now, DC United plays by the same rules as everyone else and it is the champion fair and square.. but I have to wonder about this MLS system... I also have to wonder about the level of play in a league where such a mediocre team as DC United managed to become champion..I'll take it though... For all the talk about the Redskins, Capitals and Wizards DC United is the only championship team we have...

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


Went to see "Sideways" this weekend...its the new Douglas Payne movie.. he's the director (i think he also does some writing for the screenplays of his movies) behind "Election" and "About Schmidt"...

I like his movies..He strikes me as more of a european filmaker than a hollywood one... his films seem to focus around existential themes and are developed through dialogue/voiceovers rather than action...they are "realist" pictures...

anyhow i don't believe in reviewing movies.. i think people should see films for themselves and make up their own minds. preferably see a movie with as little information and few preconceptions going in as possible...don't read reviews and try to avoid previews!

but i do strongly recommend this movie...

once you've seen it you may wish to check out this Douglas Payne interview at:

Monday, November 15, 2004

Stand Up! (get it?)

Spin the Black Circle!

I remember reading once that the paper clip we use is far inferior to many other paper clips that have been developed… or that the way a keyboard or typewriter is laid out is not the easiest or most convenient form.. but its what we use…

People sometimes find it ridiculous when I sing the praises of LPs as compares to the newer medium of CDs..there’s a feeling that only a curmudgeonly hermit who refuses to adapt to evolving technology would feel this way.. but in my case I purchased over 1500 compact dics before beginning collect vinyl…. I discovered records after CDs…believe me if CDs were better it would have been in my interest to accept it!.. but I have come to realize that vinyl is largely superior due to aesthetics, sound quality and what I call intangibles.. first of all, in the days of records the LP cover was in it of itself a piece of art… the people that designed the Pink Floyd LP covers, for example, were every bit artists.. things like gatefold or even trifold covers, pop ups (check out the picture of Jethro Tull’s “Stand Up” if you don’t believe me) inner sleeves (with lyrics that are actually in a readable font!), the record’s labels themselves, and double LP packages are greatly diminished by the CD (some would point to this as the CDs greatest attribute as it allow for portability what cost sez moi)…. Sound-wise I find the digital compact disc “cold”… analog sound is constant and to my ears generally provides a warmer fuller sound than the laser beam… It is also nice to see the record spinning on a turntable as opposed to a CD which you stick in a player and have no idea what is going on in there…and as far as the intangibles, for me, the feeling derived from playing a 1951 original Billie Holiday 10 inch LP or the original “Kind of Blue” record simply cannot be matched by a CD…I find it interesting that the CD will perish soon, replaced by MP3s and IPODs while the LP will live on forever.. QED

I would recommend anyone who enjoys music purchase a turntable.. you would be surprised how easy it is to find records at inexpensive prices..when CDs first came out people bought into the idea that LP were poor sounding and parted with their LP collections almost instantly relegating their records to the landfill and replacing them with inferior CDs (yes, inferior.. the first pressings of record company back catalog were made in a haphazard manner and ended up sounding worse!.. only now a few remastered issues later and with the advent of SACD and hybrids are CDs beginning to approach the original LP issues in terms of sound quality)..sometimes I wonder how many of the 30 million copies sold of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” at least half on vinyl, still exist…

Washington DC is not a great town for crate diggers…that rare breed that gets his kicks hunting for records…the best town I’ve seen for vinyl has to be Seattle…. But DC like every town does have its places/moments for the crate digger…I hope to write about these soon…

"see this needle...a see my hand...drop, drop, dropping it down...oh, so gently...well here it comes...i touch the plane...turn me up...won't turn you away...spin, spin...spin the black circlespin, spin...spin the black, spin the black...spin, spin...spin the black circlespin, spin...whoa...pull it out...a paper sleeve...oh, my joy...only you deserve conceit...i'm so big...a-my whole world...i'd rather you...rather you...than her...spin, spin...spin the black circlespin, spin...spin the black, spin the black...spin, spin...spin the black circlespin,'re so warm...oh, the ritual...when i lay down your crooked arm...spin, spin...spin the black circlespin, spin...spin the black, spin the black...spin, spin...spin the black circlespin, spin...spin the black circlespin the black circle...spin, spin...spin, spin..."- Pearl Jam

Friday, November 12, 2004

Roxy Music's "Country Life" LP (1974)

election wrapup (Part I)

And so it came to pass that the American people elected George W. Bush to a second term. Four more years of the smirking cowboy! Be very concerned if not alarmed. I recommend all non believers read Ron Suskin's article on the workings of the Bush administration which ran in an October New York Times magazine. Whatever funny business may have taken place Kerry did not do well enough in the popular vote to put himself in a position to question anything but his campaign 'strategery'. Since secession or suicide are not viable or attractive options we must work over the coming four years to preserve a strong democracy at home, restrain cowboy shenanigans abroad, and push for some semblance of sane fiscal discipline. We must also push for improving the electoral process. It is patently unacceptable that in the wealthiest country in the world, where we concluded an election for President costing over $1 billion on advertising alone and where we pat each other on the ass for counting with the longest running democracy, many citizens vote with rickety antiquated machines prone to breakdown or wait in line, sometimes in the rain, for five hours to vote, or a highly partisan corporation such as Diebold provides voting machines that fail to count with any paper trail. Come on! And whats up with not voting on a weekend or national holiday, anyways?

The Bush administration will lecture us that they have gained political "capital" they intend to spend. This Bush pearl of wisdom is akin to walking through the hood bragging you've got $40 in your pocket or telling your hooker you've got two bills you're looking to blow. The Bushies will atempt to steamroll opponents into submission and we must remain on guard. The fourth estate ought to refuse to be cowed by Bush shennanigans of the type on display at his recent press conference (one question rule? say what?). The media needs to step up over the coming four years and refuse to be suckered a la post 9-11/run up to Irak. Implicit in preserving our democracy is keeping a mindful eye on Bush's judicial nominations while saying a little prayer that Justice Stevens makes it to the young age of 88.

We will also of course need to find ourselves an American representing our nation's core values, which are NOT bigotry, lying, torture, or the murder of innocent women and children, and capable of winning the 2008 Presidential elections. To win we should examine what went wrong and right on November 2 and in recent history for the democratic party. Basically we need to do a lot of homework commencing pronto. I say a lot because the democratic party has turned into the party with the big L on its forehead. In the period 1968-2008 there have been just three democratic administrations: Carter's completely failed turn and Clinton's (the first of which would have never happened but for the "grace" of Perot) two terms. The words of the warden in Cool Hand Luke ring true: "What we have here is a failure to communicate." The democratic message is simply not playing well particularly with white people and I think this has to do less with the message and more with how its being expressed. For example, Americans consistently say when polled that health care is important to them and Kerry made health care for all a major centerpiece of his campaign and yet....

Monday, November 08, 2004

Its the health, stupid!

An annual report that ranks the relative health of individual states based on 18 factors, including smoking, health insurance coverage, obesity and infant mortality supports the conclusion that health rather than moral values played a large role in influencing people's decision on their choice for President. People voted their health with 8 of the 10 healthiest states solidly aligning themselves with Kerry while the 15 least healthy states went for the incumbent.

Since the relationship is correlational causation cannot be inferred. It could be that voting for Bush makes people unhealthy or that people who are unhealthy are more likely to vote for Bush. Another possibility is that there is an intervening variable, whereby states that value health are more likely to have a population of healthy people and are also more likely to choose Kerry as a presidential candidate. More research is needed.

1. Minnesota

2. New Hampshire

3. Vermont

4. Hawaii

5. Utah

6. Massachusetts

7. North Dakota

8. Connecticutt

9. Wisconsin

10. Maine

35. Texas

36. Missouri

37. Nevada

38. New Mexico

39. Kentucky

40. Oklahoma

41. North Carolina

42. Florida

43. West Virginia

43. Alabama

45. Georgia

46. Arkansas

47. South Carolina

48. Tennessee

49. Mississippi

50. Louisiana

Data on health status provided by the United Health Foundation, American Public Health Association and Partnership for Prevention. Electoral data based on results as reported by CNN.

Picture taken this weekend (by Bilal Hussein for AP) of a boy hurt in US attacks on Fallujah, Iraq...his father was killed and his brother was also hurt...may god help us for what we are doing...

Thursday, November 04, 2004

if the shoe fits..

"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger." -- Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials

recommended movie!

yesterday we went to see the film "Being Julia" starring Annette Benning and based on (heavily) the William Somerset Maugham novel "Theatre" from the 1930s. Annette Benning is magnificent as Julia. She really gets to the core of the character. More importantly to me perhaps is how Somerset Maugham's novel is well adapted to the big screen. "Willie's" image has been tarnished these past two or three decades... Much like Graham Greene he is an increasingly marginalized author..Its a great time to discover timeless books such as "Theatre" (which i belief was out of print until three years ago!) or "Cakes and Ale."

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

I am away on a mediation retreat. The blog is therefore closed temporarily.. please check back..

Monday, November 01, 2004

Michael Moore's last letter before election

well worth checking out at
he's got something to say to everyone (democrats, naderites, republicans, bush, kerry, etc.).. i particularly enjoyed this excerpt addressed to our outgoing president.

To George W.:
I know it’s gotta be rough for you right now. Hey, we’ve all been there. “You’re fired” are two horrible words when put together in that order. Bin Laden surfacing this weekend to remind the American people of your total and complete failure to capture him was a cruel trick or treat. But there he was. 3,000 people were killed and he’s laughing in your face. Why did you stop our Special Forces from going after him? Why did you forget about bin Laden on the DAY AFTER 9/11 and tell your terrorism czar to concentrate on Iraq instead? There he was, OBL, all tan and rested and on videotape (hey, did you get the feeling that he had a bootleg of my movie? Are there DVD players in those caves in Afghanistan?)

electoral prediction correction..

while i believe kerry will win the electoral vote comfortably i am moving new mexico and missouri into the bush column....(this amends my previous electoral prediction found in the archives)...i am leaving my popular vote percentages and turnout predictions intact...

Gore Vidal speaks...

Noted american novelist and essayist Gore Vidal has given a new interview just before the election....he has some interesting things to say about the process and candidates...

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